Power closure sensor system and method

Data processing: vehicles – navigation – and relative location – Vehicle control – guidance – operation – or indication – Vehicle subsystem or accessory control

Reexamination Certificate

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Details

C701S036000, C180S271000, C280S734000, C280S735000, C307S009100

Reexamination Certificate

active

06456916

ABSTRACT:

BACKGROUND
With the advent of powered closure systems, such as, but not limited to automotive windows, it would be desirable to provide a sensor system in which an object, such as but not limited to a person's hand which is in the closing path of the closable member, such as the window, is able to sense the object within the path of travel of the window and reverse direction of or halt the closing of the window. Reversing the direction would thereby prevent the hand or other object from being caught or pinched by the moving window against the window frame.
Current systems detect an object either after an object has been trapped and the motor stalls, or the position of the closure member does not change. In such systems the required force may be set too low so that it will reverse without an actual object in the opening. This could be caused by ice build up on the perimeter seal or other frictional forces that cannot be predicted by the system. Other systems may work on current or speed sensing and therefore have problems similar to the problems listed above. The majority of systems currently available actually pinch an object before reversing and in many cases could cause discomfort to a person or cause damage to an object.
Accordingly, there is a need for a system that senses an object before the actual point of contact. Further, there is a need for a system that will not trap an object prior to reversing the closer motor, instead the closer motor will reverse when it detects an object within a sensitivity range.
It would be desirable to provide a system and/or method that provides one or more of these or other advantageous features. Other features and advantages will be made apparent from the present specification. The teachings disclosed extend to those embodiments which fall within the scope of the appended claims, regardless of whether they accomplish one or more of the aforementioned needs.
SUMMARY
An exemplary embodiment relates to a power closure sensor system. The power closure sensor system includes a data processing device and a closer motor in communication with the data processing device. The closer motor controls the movement of a closable member relative to a frame. The power closure sensor system also includes a proximity sensor configured to sense the location of an object. The proximity sensor is in communication with the data processing device and the proximity sensor is configured to sense the object location when the object does or does not contact the closable member or the frame member directly. Further, the power closure sensor system includes a position sensor. The position sensor is configured to sense the position of the closable member. The position sensor is in communication with the data processing device. Further still, the power closure sensor system includes a logic program running on the data processing device. The logic program is configured to generate an estimate of the location of the object relative to the closable member.
Another exemplary embodiment relates to a method of preventing a powered closable member from closing, the closable member supported by a frame. The method includes determining the location of an object using a proximity sensor, the object not being required to have direct contact with at least one of the closable member and the frame. The method includes determining the position of the closable member, and computing the location of the closable member relative to the object. The method also includes determining that the object is within a predetermined range relative to the closable member and stopping a closing motor from advancing the closable member.
Yet another exemplary embodiment relates to a power closure sensor system for a vehicle. The power closure sensor system includes a data processing device and a closer motor in communication with the data processing device. The closer motor controls the movement of a closable member on the vehicle relative to a frame for the closable member. The power closure sensor system also includes a capacitive sensor configured to sense the location of an object. The capacitive sensor is in communication with the data processing device, the capacitive sensor enabled to sense the relative location of the object when the object does or does not touch the closable member or the frame. The power closure sensor system further includes a position sensor configured to sense the position of the closable member. The position sensor is in communication with the data processing device. Further still, the power closure sensor system further includes a logic program running on the data processing device. The logic program is configured to generate an estimate of the location of the object relative to the closable member.
Alternative exemplary embodiments relate to other features and combination of features as may be generally recited in the claims.


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Translation of German Patent No. 40 04 353 A1.

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